The Noble Panamanian Fruit


The Pixbae—another of its many names—is a tropical fruit that is grown abundantly in mountain regions and remote areas of Panama.  It has been recognized by renowned chefs as “the noble Panamanian fruit,” because 92 percent of its skin, pulp and seed are usable.  When we were growing up in Changuinola, we called this fruit “pifá”.  My mother would cook an abundant amount that would last more than a week.  It was a regular fruit on our table.

Analysis performed by experts has confirmed that as food, it’s the tropical fruit that’s the most balanced and nourishing.  It contains more protein than the avocado, has twice the protein value of the banana, and its nutritional value is comparable to the hen’s egg but without the cholesterol.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Whenever the opportunity arises we do buy a couple of pifás to eat for breakfast.  They sell at a price of three pifás for a quarter for the small ones, or three for fifty cents for the big ones.  We prefer the small ones—they are softer and tastier.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

And now you know the name of a noble Panamanian food.  Good Day.

4 thoughts on “The Noble Panamanian Fruit”

  1. I like the color variety here. I’m assuming that’s because the fruits are at different levels of ripeness. Those stalks are pretty substantial, too. It looks like they grow like bananas, in the sense that you can cut down a bunch, rather than plucking individual fruits.

  2. The pixbaes or pifás are cut in clusters in order to avoid unnecessary waste while transporting them to the urban areas for final distribution. They hold better in clusters.

    I don’t know why the coloration is so varied, since they are still raw. Could be that there are different stages of ripening as you said.

    Anyway, they taste real nice for breakfast. Another advantage of living in the Tropics.

  3. I love these, but they take an AWFULLY LONG TIME to cook properly. That’s probably why my neighbors cook them outside over a wood fire in a big kettle. Also, the wood fire imparts a bit of additional flavor.

  4. That’s what my wife tells me. Their parents used to cook truck-fulls of pixbaes at their home. Her father and brothers ate then while working on the fields.

    My mother always cooked them at home, first with a kerosene stove and later as progress evolved, with a gas stove.

    We usually buy them already cooked at El Dorado. As you said, cooking them takes forever. But man, are they good!

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